- Dry beans are a pulse crop. Pulse crops are legumes that grow for one year and are harvested for the dry grain or seed inside the pod. Other major pulse crops include millet, dry peas, lentils, Chickpeas, Pigeon peas, and Bambara groundnut. Pulses are popular crops in the developing world. They are sustainable crops with high water-use efficiency and contribute to soil quality by fixing nitrogen in the soil.
- Dry beans are available to the consumer either as packed dry beans or already cooked and preserved in a can. Red speckled, Large White Kidney and Small White beans are canned in a saline solution and can also be canned in tomato sauce (baked beans). The difference between beans canned in tomato sauce and those canned in a saline solution (brine) is that the latter can be used for any recipe, including puddings, cake, etc.
- Dry beans is an important niche market in South Africa. It has a high water use efficiency and contribute to soil quality by fixing nitrogen in the soil. It can be used as feedstuff for animals and plays a major role in food security, especially so since it is a vegetable protein.
Source: “What opportunities exist to grow markets for pulses and their products”, a presentation by the Dry Beans Producer Organisation, November 2016; A Profile of the South African Dry Bean Market Value Chain (see heading 6)
2. International business environment
Major producers of dry beans include China, USA, Brazil, India, Argentina, Mexico and Myanmar.
Some international websites
- US Dry Bean Council – www.usdrybeans.com
- The CIAT, (International Centre for Tropical Agriculture), part of the CGIAR, includes dry beans in its research for development: https://ciat.cgiar.org/what-we-do/breeding-better-crops/beans/
South Africa: imports and exports
South Africa has a dry bean deficit and relies on imports. This suggests an opportunity for the whole of Southern Africa to increase production.
Imports are mostly from China, Canada, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Botswana and Argentina (2016). A smaller quantity is exported, mainly to neighbouring African countries like Swaziland and Lesotho but also elsewhere like the United Arab Emirates and Turkey.
The landed costs of imported beans, determined largely by the then current exchange rate of the Rand in relation to the US Dollar, have a definite influence on the local price structure. The prices obtained for locally produced beans are also influenced by the quality of the beans on offer (locally produced versus the imported product). A strengthening of the Rand in relation to the US Dollar also encourages higher volumes of imports.
3. Local business environment
The dry bean production areas in South Africa as follows:
|Free State||Bethlehem (including the Aberfeldy/Afrikaskop area), Fouriesburg, Ficksburg, Clocolan, Harrismith, Kroonstad, Henneman|
|KwaZulu-Natal||Kokstad, Vryheid, Bergville/Winterton, Greytown, Weenen, Mooi River|
|Limpopo||Thabazimbi, Koedoeskop, Marble Hall, Tuinplaas, Vaalwater, Ohrigstad, Lydenburg, Burgersfort|
|Mpumulanga/Gauteng||Middelburg, Nigel (including the Bloekomspruit/ Grootvlei area), Delmas (including the Sundra, Eloff, Waaikraal, Kendal area), Ermelo (including the Chrissiesmeer,/Lothair area).|
|North West||Brits, Lichtenburg, Koster, Rysmierbult|
|Northern Cape||Kimberley, Douglas, Modderrivier|
Bean producers have the choice to sell directly to the trade or supply their product to the first point of sale in the bean marketing chain such as wholesalers and co-operatives. Beans can be sold to packers or processors and if they are unbranded they are sold in the informal market through spaza shops and hawkers. If they are branded they get to the formal market through the chain stores e.g. Pick ‘n Pay, Hyperama, Woolworths and Checkers/Shoprite. Split beans can also be exported to niche markets in the form of flour, and the bread and pasta industry make use of it.
Source: “What opportunities exist to grow markets for pulses and their products”, a presentation by the Dry Beans Producer Organisation, 2016; ; A Profile of the South African Dry Bean Market Value Chain (see heading 6)
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